Review and Player Ratings with Egan-Riley impressive – Manchester City 0-0 (5-0) Sporting CP
Manchester City are through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League after a 5-0 aggregate win against Sporting. A 0-0 stalemate was tonight's result.
No goals from either side make the headlines but the Blues' place in the draw was pretty much complete after City's 5-0 away demolition in the first-leg and many youth players were given significant minutes.
Despite stating in midweek that he only had 14 fit senior players, Pep Guardiola could only find one space in the starting lineup for a youth star, and that was awarded to Conrad Jaden Egan-Riley at right-back – Kyle Walker is 2/3 of the way through a three-game ban and Joao Cancelo was out with illness.
Six changes from Sunday's derby victory were made with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandihno, Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and the aforementioned Egan-Riley all coming into the starting XI. City skipper Fernandinho was in for his 100th Champions League appearance.
The first half in Manchester was perhaps the complete opposite to that of in Lisbon three weeks ago – although it is worth noting how impressive Egan-Riley was. The youngster slotted into the side as if it was nothing, on his Champions League debut, and was excellent down the right channel.
Nothing much came City's way apart from a couple of dismissed Gabriel Jesus penalty appeals – but despite the flat performance, Guardiola's side should have gone into the break 1-0 up.
Academy graduate Phil Foden received the ball in between the lines and in a Xavi like fashion flicked the ball around the defence and in behind to Raheem Sterling, but City's No.7's chipped attempt was read by Sporting keeper, Antonio Adan, who stood firm to catch the tame effort.
Within two minutes of the restart, City thought they had broken the deadlock. Zinchenko played a sublime ball over to substitute Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian brought the ball down in his usual world-class fashion and drove at the scurrying Sporting defence; the ball eventually fell to Jesus, who calmly slotted past Adan's near-post only for VAR to rule it offside against the Brazillian.
72 minutes in, Guardiola once again showed his class when he substituted Ederson off for Scott Carson for his 16th career European appearance. Carson has been City's third-choice for a few years now and was last on the pitch at St. James' Park last season.
Moments after coming on Carson made a great save to deny Sporting the opener. Marcus Edwards chipped through a ball to Paulinho, but he couldn't strike past City's keeper from close-range.
As the final whistle loomed City didn't threaten intensely for a winner, aside from a late side-netting volley from Sterling. The game played out to a 0-0 stalemate.
Ederson - 7
Egan-Riley - 8
Stones - 7
Laporte - 7
Zinchenko - 6
Fernandihno - 7
Gundogan - 6
Silva - 6
Jesus - 7
Foden - 7
Sterling - 6
Substitutes: Carson (7), McAtee (6.5), Mahrez (7), Mbete (N/A)
Despite it not being one of City's best performances of the campaign, it didn't need to be. City already had the job done before the game was kicked off and professionally completed the job tonight. Minutes were given out to multiple youth players, and that experience is so valuable – moments they'll never forget.
The quarter-final draw will take place on March 18 (Friday) at 11 am (GMT), with the semi-final matchups also to be drawn.
Written by: @TomCayless_
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